Go Beyond Utility with Jeremy Hutchison
For people who philosophically feel that “form follows function” Jeremy Hutchison‘s work [previously] must seem like stepping off a cliff. Hutchison takes practical objects and renders them impractical, leaving bare form without function. Transformed “beyond utility,” the objects that remain are lifeless, useless sculptural shells, and yet: aren’t they lovely? Quoth Hutchison:
“True luxury has no function. It’s not something to be used or understood. It’s a feeling: beyond sense, beyond logic, beyond utility. It’s an ethic of perfect dysfunctionality.”
Perfect dysfunctionality! What great propadada™!
Jeremy Hutchison was trained in linguistics and makes work that “investigates the mechanisms of the 21st century”. On his twitter feeds (@HutchisonJeremy & @erratumco), he writes things like:
- “Utility is not the intent.”
- “The purpose is not practical.”
- “The purpose is not realistic.”
- “Wrong is not real.”
It’s kinda like Jenny Holzer’s Truisms, but in the lexicon of a reactionary modern industrial designer.
E R R A T U M® is the London-based Hutchison’s latest collection of dysfunctional luxuries. [See also Err.] Each object has been made with an error that voids its original function. To accomplish this, Hutchison contacted factories around the world and asked if one of their workers would produce an ‘incorrect’ version of the product they make every day. The functional objects became artworks.
I asked them to make me one of their products, but to make it with an error. I specified that this error should render the object dysfunctional. And rather than my choosing the error, I wanted the factory worker who made it to choose what error to make. Whatever this worker chose to do, I would accept and pay for.
Again I plum his twitter for insight: “I need to get a bat with a specification, then we can start to make it by wrong way increasing sweetspot and providing optimum aerodynamics.”
Hutchison quotes 19th century French romantic poet Alphonse de Lamartine:
“O inanimate objects, have you then a soul that attaches itself to our soul and forces it to love?”
It’s a sentiment to which we collectors can certainly relate.
Hutchison describes his own work like this:
It’s about Duchamp and the readymade, but updated to exist within the context of today’s globalised economy. It’s about the rub between art and design, the mass-produced and unique, the functional and the dysfunctional.
E R R A T U M® opens on December 5th 2012 at a pop-up boutique at Paradise Row in London. Each limited edition product will be numbered, sealed and authenticated with the provenance (factory name, worker, year of production). The collection will also be available to purchase via the E R R A T U M® e-commerce store at www.erratum.co.
Click through for videos, two of my favorite objects and some fashion photography.